2019 Conference Speakers & Panellists 

Adrian Tobin

Founder, Kinlab

Presentation Title: Sport 2030 a disability sport lense what do we need to know in our space, what are the new opportunities that are available

Having spent 20,000+ hours in the field building an understanding of the relationship Australian’s have with sport and physical activity, Adrian has his finger on the pulse of community sport.

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As Founder of Kinlab, Adrian’s days are spent applying systems thinking and human-centred design with his team to uncover behavioural insights, and create strategic solutions for their sport and recreation business partners.  

With Adrian at the helm, the Kinlab team has designed strategic solutions across Australia, the USA, and the UK. His team have worked with well over 100 sports businesses across 35 sports, including, Sports Australia, World Surf League, Cricket Australia, Rugby Australia, English Cricket Board, and Football Federation Australia.

Beyond the sports industry, Adrian’s has designed strategic solutions to complex challenges across work health & safety, health, aged care, communities, emergency services, environment, transport and disability.  

Adrian also represented Australia in Surf Life Saving, and was a professional surf ironman for a number of years. 

He looks forward to seeing you at the Reimagining Sport with a Collective Systems Approach to Achieving Sport 2030 session.

Beau Newell

National Program Manager, Pride in Sport Australia

Presentation Title: LGBTI

Panel Discussion 1: Top three issues identified by the audience

Panel Discussion 2: Interaction with the panel and audience to identify the top five priorities on how sport can be more diverse and inclusive.

Beau Newell is the National Program Manager of Pride in Sport Australia, an Australian first sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations (national, state, regional, elite, academies, foundations, and clubs) with the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) employees, players, volunteers and spectators.

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In a world first, the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) is the first and only benchmarking instrument specifically designed to assess the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) people within Australian sport and sporting organisations. Participating in the index allows Australian sporting organisations to not only assess their own practice, but determine that which constitutes good practice, along with the ability to benchmark their own initiatives against an external measure and other sporting organisations.

Beau’s involvement in sport began at a young age as a player, referee, coach, selector and administrator of several sporting codes. He currently holds several positions in the sporting industry including Chairman/Director of a Regional Sporting Organisation, Life Membership of several associations and a consultant for volunteer management. In 2011, Beau founded NSW Sport & Event Management which has since grown into a powerhouse for business operational support of community sporting clubs across NSW. Having previously worked for a State Sporting Organisation and an Advisory Group member for an NSO, his knowledge and understanding of the sporting landscape is extensive. In the years leading into the Marriage Equality debate, Beau and his Partner pioneered LGBTI+ rights advocacy in regional and rural NSW becoming the spokesperson for many outspoken LGBTI+ individuals in country Australia which led to Beau being nationally recognised for his contribution for his LGBTI advocacy at the Australian Honour Awards.

Chyloe Kurdas

National Female Participation Manager, Golf Australia

Presentation Title: The application of resources – Learnings and moving forward.

Professor Clare Hanlon

Susan Alberti Women in Sport Chair, Victoria University

Facilitating: Launch and application of new diversity and inclusion resources from Sport Australia

 Clare is known for her pursuit of evidence, advocacy, and impact to community capacity building that breaks down barriers and increases opportunities for women as leaders and participants in sport and physical activity. 

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Sought to provide research and advice to international, national and state peak bodies including: co-leading the national policy framework for women in sport; creating a high level women in sport strategy for Sport Australia; a member on the Victorian Ministerial Inquiry for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation; and an advisor for three State/Territory Governments on infrastructure, systems, and programs to encourage women and girls in sport.

Clare led the evaluation of local government policies and co-initiated projects in South East Asian Regions to build capacity of sport organisations to empower women.

In recognition of creating change, Clare was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll (2018), recognised as a Change our Game role model by the Victorian Minister for Sport (2016) and a chapter was dedicated to her in the book Oceania inspirational women: Making a difference in physical education, sport and dance.

A Director of Gymnastics Australia and of the Oceania Gymnastics Union, Clare is also a member on the VicHealth Physical Activity Taskforce.

John McCallum

Chief Executive Officer, National Seniors Australia

Presentation Title: Seniors

Prof McCallum is an academic leader widely published in peer-reviewed publications, books and monographs; NHMRC evidence statements and Guidelines; National Seniors reports.

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He had teaching and research roles at: Griffith University; Andrus Gerontology Center University of Southern California; Nanzan University Nagoya; Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology; Renmin University Beijing; ESCAP Bangkok; Ageing Family Project; National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health ANU from where he ran the Dubbo Study of the Health of the Elderly.

He was Executive Dean Health and Social Sciences University of Western (received Campbelltown Council Community Service Award), Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor and Director TAFE Victoria University; Senior Executive (NHMRC Research Translation Group; Director NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research; Research Director National Seniors Australia and CEO from 2018.

Some of his major projects were: Dubbo Longitudinal Study of Ageing, Australia-Japan Collaboration in Aged Care, Asset and Health Dynamics of the ‘Old’ Old (AHEAD), Vietnam Veterans Mortality Study and he received the Federation Medal in 2003 ‘for outstanding service as a researcher to ageing and aged care issues’.

BEcon (UQ); BPhil, MPhil, DPhil (Oxon); FASSA and 2Lt RAInf (OTU)

Kate Schildberger

Deputy General Manager, Integrity Sport Australia

Presentation 2: The provision of resources – Supporting sport and physical activity providers in their development of a diverse and inclusive environment.

Presentation 3: The scope and definition of a diverse and inclusive environment – Explored from an Australian perspective for our sport and physical activity communities.

Kate started working for Sport Australia in late October 2018 as part of a transition from 26 years of work in the Australian Defence Force as an Army Officer, an educator and cultural reformist.

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Her career focus has been on ensuring a ‘level playing field’ for all.

She started her education career as a Teacher of the Deaf and left Army after working on Indigenous and Gender inclusion policy as well as the development of supporting awareness and education programs.

2019 has been a year focussed on inclusion and safety – not just for transgender and gender diverse, but researching the impacts of branding, religious beliefs, cultural diversity and how to make sport safe for all Australians.

Kay Thomson

Co-Lead, Diversity and Inclusion, Sport New Zealand

Presentation Title: Disability

Formerly Sport England’s Inactivity lead and architect of their Inactivity and Health approach, Kay is now co-lead for Diversity and Inclusion at Sport NZ. 

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A role which include a focus on equity for women and girls in Aotearoa and supporting disabled people to be actively engaged in play, active recreation and sport.

Melanie Fineberg

Manager, Social Marketing – VicHealth

Presentation Title: Women from culturally diverse backgrounds

Melanie is a passionate marketing communications professional with almost 20 years’ experience in the government and not-for-profit sectors in Australia (Sydney, Perth and Melbourne) and in London.

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Melanie has spent her career leading teams to deliver a range of high-profile behaviour change campaigns.

From encouraging people to be safer on the roads and at work, to supporting people to make healthier choices and raising funds for life-saving research, Melanie’s goal has always been to have a positive impact on people’s lives.

 As Social Marketing Manager at VicHealth, Melanie is responsible for leading her team to design, develop and evaluate social marketing and awareness campaigns.

This has included creation of the highly successful This Girl Can – Victoria campaign which inspired more than 285,000 women to get active in its first year.

 Melanie has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Technology Sydney.

Merrilee Barnes

Director Safe and Ethical Sport – Sport Australia

Presentation Title: The provision of resources – Supporting sport and physical activity providers in their development of a diverse and inclusive environment: Case Study: Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport and the development of practical tools and resources for sporting organisations.

Merrilee has worked across myriad layers of sport including education, club through to national level sport, mega sporting events, sport stadia, athlete management, sponsorship and government. 

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She has considerable experience in the areas of strategy, integrity, commercialisation and inclusion and in her current role at Sport Australia, she provides support to NSOs and the sport sector to bring about organisational change particularly in the areas of safe and inclusive sport.

Merrilee has led several important sector projects for Sport Australia including: the development of a national framework to help sports at all levels improve their approaches to child safety; collaborating with the Australian Human Rights Commission to develop national guidelines for transgender participation in sport; and leading a major high performance sport review which assessed ways in which performance support resources across the National Institute of Sport network could be better coordinated to achieve optimal impact on Australia’s high performance targets leading into the Tokyo Olympic cycle.

Molina Asthana

Founder, Multicultural Women in Sport

Presentation Title: Women from culturally diverse backgrounds

Molina Swarup Asthana is the Principal of Swarup Asthana Lawyers, practicing in commercial law.

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She is a Commissioner for the AFL South East Commission and was on the AFL advisory Committee for multicultural engagement.  She was awarded the Regional Ambassador of the Year Award in 2015 and Fair Play Award in 2016 by AFL for her contribution and initiatives in promoting the game within the multicultural communities. She has also been an ambassador for Cricket Australia, Commonwealth Games and Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week

She is also the founder of the organisation Multicultural Women in Sport which aims to empower migrant women from multicultural backgrounds through sport.

Molina sits on multiple boards including the Law Institute of Victoria and Graduate House of the University of Melbourne. She is the President of the International Law Association Victorian Chapter, Vice President of the Asian Australian Lawyer’s Association, Victorian Convener of the Asian Australian Alliance, the co-chair of the Women in Business Chapter of the Australia India Business Council and on other community boards working on diverse issues facing the Asian Community.

She has received awards from multiple organisations for her work, including the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence for Service Delivery Community Service 2014 and for 2016. She was the winner of the Spirit of Sport Award at the India Australia Business and Community Awards 2017, the Person of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2013 at the Indian Executive Awards, was a finalist for the Law Institute of Victoria- Access to Justice Award 2016 and the Inspirational Women of Yarra Award 2017. She was profiled in the Top 50 of the Indian Community in Melbourne in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Molina is passionate about supporting and creating leadership pathways and has been mentoring young leaders at Leadership Victoria as well as junior lawyers and law students through the Asian Australian Lawyer’s Association and Melbourne University.

Peter Downs

Manager, Play by the Rules

Panel Discussion: The application of resources – Learnings and moving forward

Peter Downs is currently National Manager of Play by the Rules, a joint initiative of Federal and State governments to keep community sport safe, fair and inclusive. 

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Peter has a 30 year career in sport at a national level, for much of that time specialising in issues of inclusion and diversity.

Peter is former Manager of the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit for 17 years and Assistant Director of the ASCs Integrity Unit for 2 years.

He has a Masters Degree in Adapted Physical Activity and in 2014 was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study models of good practice in inclusive sport and physical activity, particularly for people with high support needs, in Finland, the UK and US.

Peter believes that one day he’ll figure out how inclusion and diversity works?

Simon Rodder

Sport Development & Partnerships Manager, Special Olympics Australia

Panel Discussion: The application of resources – Learnings and moving forward.

Simon Rodder is the Sport Development & Partnerships Manager for Special Olympics Australia, a role that focuses on helping to increase collaboration between the sport, disability and education sectors resulting in more inclusive opportunities for all Australians to become more active.

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Simon has extensive experience working in the sport sector with a focus on coach education and product development. While at the Australian Sports Commission, Simon worked closely with a range of National Sporting Organisations to develop products that were flexible in use, to introduce as many new participants as possible through the creation of inclusive programs that focus on safe and engaging environments.

Since working at Special Olympics Australia, Simon has established strong partnerships across the mainstream sport sector that aim to create a more welcoming sport sector through online learning, face to face workshops, complementary pathways and joint membership structures. All these outcomes centre on simple objectives – valuing choice and fostering collaboration to promote fairness and equity for Australians with disability.


Sophie Porra

General Manager, People, Western Bulldogs

Presentation Title: The application of resources – Learnings and moving forward.